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The impact of systematic occupational health and safety management for occupational disorders and long-term work attendance



The impact of systematic occupational health and safety management for occupational disorders and long-term work attendance



Social Science and Medicine 67(6): 965-970



Despite several years of conducting formalized systematic occupational health and safety management (SOHSM), as required by law in Sweden and most other industrialized countries, there is still little evidence on how SOHSM should be approached to have an impact on employees' health. The aim of this study was to investigate the importance of SOHSM, considering structured routines and participation processes, for the incidence of occupational disorders and the prevalence of long-term work attendance among home care workers (HCWs). Municipal human service organizations were compared concerning (a) their structured routines and participation processes for SOHSM and (b) employee health, i.e. the municipal five-year incidence of occupational disorders and prevalence of work attendance among HCWs. National register-based data from the whole population of HCWs (n=154 773) were linked to register-data of occupational disorders and prevalence of long-term work attendance. The top managers and safety representatives in selected high- and low-incidence organizations (n=60) answered a questionnaire about structure and participation process of SOHSM. The results showed that prevalence of long-term work attendance was higher where structure and routines for SOHSM (policy, goals and plans for action) were well organized. Highly structured SOHSM and human resource management were also related to high organizational incidence of reported occupational disorders. Allocated budget and routines related to HCWs' influence in decisions concerning performance of care were also related to long-term work attendance. The participation processes had a weak effect on occupational disorders and work attendance among HCWs. Reporting occupational disorders may be a functional tool to stimulate the development of effective SOHSM, to improve the work environment and sustainable work ability.

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Accession: 056370971

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PMID: 18599173

DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.05.030


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